Best Smartphone deals FAQ in the UK this Month

What you need to know about buying your new phone

Of course you want to find the cheapest price for your new smartphone - and our comparison chart at the top of the page will narrow that down for you - but we know there are likely to be dozens more questions you'll want answering. Keep reading below, where we answer some of the key commonly asked questions about mobile phone deals.

Which mobile phone retailer should I go with?

When it comes to choosing which retailer to get your mobile phone deals from there are a tonne of options. Some exclusively offer SIM-free, some just contracts and some offer a wide range of choices. Whether you want to go for one with a trustworthy name or somewhere that prides themselves on their incredibly cheap prices - we've listed some of our guides to the top names below.

SIM-free:
- Argos mobile phones - If you want your phone straight away, Argos' click and collect can be one of the easiest ways to do it.
-  John Lewis phones  - Frequently offering some of the cheapest SIM-free prices, John Lewis is always a great option to check for your new phone contract.

Contracts and SIM-free:
- Mobiles.co.uk deals - Owned by Carphone, Mobiles.co.uk usually offers top deals on new devices - one to keep an eye out for your new phone + £10 off with 10OFF.
- Carphone Warehouse deals - One of the best known mobile phone retailers, Carphone is an obvious shout. It has a stellar reputation and brilliant deals to back it


Text to switch: can I keep my mobile phone number when I change contracts?

For the longest time, it has been a massive pain to switch your number. This required calling your network and having a tedious chat about PAC codes. Now, thanks to a new ruling from OFCOM, you can simply text to get your PAC code.
The new Text to switch feature means you can simply send a free text with the word 'PAC' to 65075. Your provider will then need to reply within a minute, sending you a PAC code that will last for 30 days.
The response sent to you must also include information about any early termination fees or pay-as-you-go credit balances. You can then give your PAC code to the new network you're joining.
You can now also text 'INFO' to 85075 to get information about your contract. This includes what charges you might need to pay or if you can end your contract early.
You can now also request your new PAC code via your online account with your network. Like the texting option, your network must respond within a minute. If you have more than one number linked to your account (e.g family accounts) you must request your PAC online.


 

What phone network is the best?

Each phone network has it's own advantages and disadvantages, there isn't necessarily a wrong choice it just depends on what's most important to you. Whether that be free rewards, good signal, cheap prices or good roaming options. Loyalty may be an admirable trait but we advise going for the phone network which has the best deal on the device you're looking for, you can't go too wrong no matter which network it is.

Nobody else can come close to EE's 4G speeds in the UK. So if you rely on fast internet while away from WI-Fi, then an EE phone deal is the obvious choice. Plus, EE gives you three free months of BT Sport (or more if you get a Max plan) when you sign up, as well as six months of Apple Music. The EE coverage checker will confirm how strong it is where you live.
If you've been holding out for the 5G phone revolution it looks like it has finally arrived and EE is at the forefront, offering a host of 5G SIM only deals.

The biggest lure to O2 is the network's Priority rewards. From 2-4-1 dinners and free coffees to first refusal on big gig tickets, O2 is the network for regular goodies. Plus, they have 1,000s of Wi-Fi hotspots in shops and cafes that you can connect to. Use the O2 coverage checker to see whether you'll be able to access 4G and then decide if an O2 phone deal is for you.



Good news for jet-setters - with a Vodafone phone deal, you can use your data, calls and texts allowances in 50 countries around the world without charge (except on its Basics tariffs). But things really start to get good when you splash out on its bigger Red Entertainment data plans, as Vodafone will give you your choice of a NOW TV Entertainment Pass, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile subscription. Click to check if Vodafone covers your home.

Vodafone now offers unlimited data SIM only deals and 5G enabled SIMs, giving competition to both EE and Three on their respective niches.

Three remains the king of the big data mobile phone deals, and still the only one of the big four networks to offer unlimited, uncapped, all-you-can-eat delicious data. We also like that with a Three phone deal you can use 4G to make calls and texts via the dedicated Three inTouch app, and you can connect to Wi-Fi in the London Underground if you ever find yourself in the capital. Its Wuntu app gives weekly perks, too. But 4G coverage isn't as strong as the other networks - check whether your postcode is covered with the Three coverage checker

 

Can I get a 5G enabled phone?

Looking to the future? The new wave of 5G phone deals that are now becoming available are here to boost your speeds. What is 5G you ask?
Well, 5G is estimated to be roughly 20x faster than 4G, allowing films and albums to be downloaded in seconds. It is essentially a super-boost to your phone.
It's a lot more than just speed though: it's about super low latency, so barely any waiting between input and action. That means gaming in the cloud can finally be reality, or remote control of devices from miles and miles away.
But here's the kicker, 5G mobile phone deals are still incredibly costly. While we imagine the prices will come down in the future, you'll have to wait a while until that is a more affordable reality.
Both EE and Vodafone have now launched their 5G SIM only deals. EE came first and went big on its offers, however it is charging a high-premium on its offers. Vodafone has now followed and has brought with it some more affordable options.
Three has recently announced that it will be following with its own 5G SIM only deals soon.


 

Should I get a contract or a SIM-free phone?

When trying to find a new mobile phone deal, it essentially boils down to two options. A phone contract or going SIM-free and combining the handset with a SIM only deal.
Most of the options you will see are contracts. These allow you to pay for both the phone and a SIM in one bundle. These are the more popular options in the UK and tend to be a lot easier, especially if you don't want to spend a tonne upfront on your new phone.


The other, less used option is buying phones SIM-free. This means buying the handset in full and then buying the SIM separately. There is a bunch of advantages of doing it this way. You get a lot more freedom with your data plan so you can choose the cheapest or biggest data plans from EE, O2, Three or Vodafone. It also tends to be a lot cheaper doing it this way. The one downside, you will have to pay a tonne of money upfront.


 

How much data do I need on my phone?

  • 1GB Some networks offer 500MB plans, but realistically we think you should get at least 1GB. It won't be much more expensive (if at all) and will afford you a little bit of Google Mapping, WhatsApping and emailing when you need them.
  • 2-3GB If you like to scroll through your social media feeds and emails while out and about without fear of extra cash to pay on your monthly bill, then up your data.
  • 4-8GB The likes of Spotify and Apple Music have promised us all our favourite tunes wherever we roam. Kit yourself out with a bit more data and you'll have plenty for music streaming and the occasional video, too.
    10-16GB This should be more than enough for most users. Loads of data for streaming music, downloading podcasts and enjoying social media videos. Because there's no such thing as too many cats falling into bins.
  • 20-30GB Big data for the big phone user. Perfect for watching Netflix videos, downloading content and streaming loads of music. And these plans often have extra freebies thrown in, too.
  • Unlimited The Three network is still the only one of the 'Big 4' to offer unlimited data. It can be really pricey though, so think long and hard whether you really need it.


 

How much memory do I need on my phone?

You're likely to be one of two kinds of person:
Person 1: You like all your photos, music, downloads and other media to be saved directly on to your phone. If that sounds like you, 16GB or 32GB handsets may not be enough and you should use our comparison chart to find the most affordable 64GB, 128GB or 256GB models.
Person 2: You're a stream demon. You've got subscriptions to Spotify and Netflix and you save all your Word docs and snaps into the cloud. Save your money and go for a cheaper, lower memory handset.
OK person 3, calm down - you fall somewhere between the two, right? If you can afford to get a smartphone with more memory, that is probably safest. But don't forget that most phones do allow you to insert an additional SD card if you run out of space - most phones apart from iPhones, that is.


 

Are refurbished handsets any good?

Refurbished phones have built up a bad reputation but you shouldn't be scared of them they are perfectly safe and can be great if you're budget isn't quite up to the high-end prices that 2018 and 2019 seem to have brought in.
'Refurbished' often means that the previous owner simply changed their mind about the phone soon after buying it, so it's still practically brand new - and the potential savings can be substantial.
If you do spy an unbelievable deal on a refurbed phone, the main thing to make sure of is the warranty. Double check that you are properly covered for a decent length of time. A year's warranty is preferable.
Sound good? Then head to our dedicated buying guide to the best refurbished phone deals or go to one of the more recognisable refurbished sites such as Music Magpie or maybe something like Envirofone.


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